For years, Subway has been trying to position itself as the healthier fast-food option by promoting its plethora of veggie toppings and lack of fried offerings.
But while its footlong meatball sub certainly doesn't have fewer calories (or grams of fat) than a McDonald's Big Mac, a new item from the chain will undoubtedly appeal to those craving something sweet, but don't want to ruin their daily nutrition goals.
This month, Subway locations in select markets will begin testing freshly made milkshakes with a wildly popular ingredient: Halo Top ice cream.
The hand-spun milkshakes are made with scoops of the low-calorie, high-protein frozen dessert and will come in three classic flavors: vanilla bean, chocolate and strawberry.
Pints from Halo Top Creamery usually clock in between 300-360 calories, and the new milkshakes will have a similar calorie count. Each 16-ounce shake is between 330-350 calories (chocolate has the most), and they all have a least 21 grams of protein and 30% of the recommended daily value of calcium. In addition to ice cream, the shakes are also blended with 2% milk. Each shake also has about 11 grams of fat and 27 grams of sugar. While that doesn't exactly make them healthy, these shakes are much less sugary than most standard fast-food milkshakes.
The chocolate shake at McDonald’s, for example, comes in at 530 calories, with 15 grams of fat and 74 grams of sugar. And an Oreo shake at Burger King has over 700 calories, 20 grams of fat and 98 grams of sugar — about twice what you should be eating on a 2,000-calorie per day diet.
Similarly, while Starbucks doesn't call its blended beverages milkshakes, its creamy Frappuccinos are pretty similar. A grande Java Chip clocks in in at 470 calories, 18 grams fat and 66 grams of sugar.
Starting July 22, the milkshake test will be run at over 1,000 restaurants in six test markets across the country including cities in Colorado, Texas, Florida and Ohio. Since each Subway restaurant location is independently-owned, prices will vary. The shakes are set to be offered through September.
“We are passionate about creating delicious new menu items for our guests that can’t be found anywhere else," Len Van Popering, Subway’s chief brand and innovation officer, said in a statement, adding that guests will experience a brand they love in a "never-before-seen way."
When it first hit freezer aisles several years ago, Halo Top made a splash with its icy, lower-calorie offerings aimed at health-conscious eaters ... who still wanted to consumer larger amounts of ice cream.
While plenty of unique flavors are available nationwide as pints, speciality items like sundaes and soft serve are only available at the brand’s scoop shops, which are limited to the Los Angeles area. Even the three scoop shops aren't offering shakes at this time, and this will be the first time Halo Top will be served in a non-pint context outside of Los Angeles. Of course, you could always try subbing in a few scoops of Halo Top in your favorite homemade milkshake recipe.
If you're not in one of the test markets, Subway says it's likely you may be getting the offering at a later date. “Many additional markets are eager to begin offering our handspun Halo Top milkshakes, and I anticipate guests across the country will be encouraging us to expand," said Popering. "We will make those decisions soon."